If you live in the Atlanta area, I highly encourage that you support the Atlanta Million Woman Walk for Congo taking place March 23rd! “Forty-eight women are raped every hour in Congo … 12% of women in this country have … Continue reading
“Francine is a beautiful young lady, with a soft spoken voice and a shy smile, from the Walungu territory in eastern Congo. When we first met her, the only indication that something might be wrong was her noticeable limp as she walked up the stairs.
Francine began her story by saying,“Sometimes when I think of these things, it makes me sad in my heart.” One night, Francine’s husband went to bed while she stayed up to bathe her sick baby girl— the youngest of four— when she heard a knock on the door.
Eight men entered, and they asked where her husband was. She claimed he was traveling, but they quickly found him under the bed. They lined them up against the wall and had them remove their clothes. The invaders told them to look at each other, and they said this is the last time you will ever consider her your wife because she will now become our wife.
Francine’s husband begged for mercy and asked what they could give as a bribe. The men said, “Give us two picks, a radio, and clothes,” and then they went through the house looting, ultimately demanding a further $100.
“We don’t have $100, only $5,” Francine told them. They told her it was not enough and asked her to lay down. She refused and her husband said he wouldn’t abandon her even if she were raped. But one of the men forced her down and raped her.
The men were speaking Kinyarwanda and they took turns. Her husband protested, and they shot him, the blood spurting on her and the rapist. She cried out and they told her to be quiet. She kept crying so they shot her through both legs, multiple times.
At some point the attackers left and the children came out of hiding to get help from their neighbors, who brought Francine to a local hospital. When she finally regained consciousness, she learned that one of her legs had to be amputated and that due to the trauma to her uterus, the doctor had to abort an early- term pregnancy of which she had been unaware. Her husband had not survived.
When she left the hospital, she didn’t know where to go. Panzi Hospital staff gave her money to get an apartment. The family faced difficult circumstances: she became a street beggar, and her children became street beggars. (She wept at this point but insisted she could go on.) It was very hard for her, and she wondered how her children would survive. She only had one leg, and she didn’t know what would happen.
A woman had mercy on her and let the family sleep on her living room floor at night. Francine’s children were selling water. A staff person from Women for Women International would regularly pass her on the road and give her small things. The staff person told her about Women for Women, and she made an appointment.
Francine enrolled, started training, and got sponsored with $20. She now makes puppets and cooks pastries. Francine has money, and she is looking for a place to live that is more permanent. Her children are going to school. When asked about her dreams for her family, Francine replied, “My hope is that God will provide assistance in helping me be strong and sending me people to buy my goods so I’ll be able to send my daughters to school and that they will be able to take care of me when I get old.”
When asked about her dream for her country, she said, “We need a good president. The government is not good; Congo hasn’t changed. My dream is to find the right leader to bring change to Congo. President Obama should talk to President Kabila and ask him to change his mind so that killing and raping will end. I want the opportunity to meet Kabila and tell him my story if it can help. I’m a widow, and I don’t have a leg, which is only because of war. We need peace, and to stop shooting and stop raping. Please talk to Kabila and to America, and tell them there are so many children living in the streets. Tell them we need peace.”
This is an abbreviated excerpt of Francine’s Enough Moment. The full version is published in The Enough Moment, a book by John Prendergast and Don Cheadle about engaged citizens – known and unknown, in the U.S. and abroad – who are mobilizing to help end genocide, rape, and the use of child soldiers in Africa. Visit the Enough Moment Wall to hear people describe their “Enough moment” and to upload a video, photo, or written testimonial of your own.”
The story above is not written by me. It is a story from the ENOUGH project.
- When we got to the bush, they pulled me down to rape me in front of my brother! (deborahnk.com)
- The Worst War: In faraway Congo, peace also seems far away (syracuse.com)
- Tutsi Contradictions – Does The UN Want War in Congo? (worldnewscurator.com)
- Dangerous Tales: False Media Narratives About the Conflict in Congo (worldnewscurator.com)
- Focus on Congo Refugees as M23 Rebels Negotiate with Govt. (atlantablackstar.com)
Lucienne’s Story “My husband was on a trip to Bukavu when some Interahamwe broke into the house where I was staying with my sister-in-law at around 9 pm. It was in December 2006. They came with flashlights. I had my … Continue reading
For those who have been following my blog, then you know that I have been writing and researching about what is going on in my country, D.R Congo. I mean, I am talking about women who are not only getting raped but are taken as sex slaves for months without clothes, women who are getting shot in their vagina, women who have had objects inserted into them such as broken bottles and guns. Imagine. Women who are left to die with the disease of Fistula, which causes non stop urine leakage and damage in the inside walls. This month I was invited to an organization Voice of the Congo, to read a couple of stories from women survivors who have endured these indescribable hardships. I mean, I have printed and read 100 pages about this and imagine sitting in class reading this. (Yeah, I was so not paying attention to my professor that day)So below, I have pasted a few stories just to give you an idea of what it’s like to not only live in Eastern Congo, but to be a WOMAN in Eastern Congo.
Congo has been labeled as the worst place in the world to be a WOMAN.
Story # 1
“I’m 14 years old and I have no mother no father. One day the hutu soldiers broke into our home and killed my family one by one. After killing my parents they took 6 of us to the forest. They took my parents’ blood, and forced us to drink it. They tied us up with a rope and started to insert objects inside of us and I didn’t know what was going to happen. Then they started raping me first in front of everyone then everyone else one by one. When they got tired, they found some sticks and started to insert them inside of us again. After that experience it was hard for me to walk again. I got raped by 4 soldiers. Now I have a child to take care of, with no parents and I don’t know if I can handle it.”
Story # 2
“That day we were coming from Bukavu. When we reached there some soldiers stopped the vehicle and made us get out. When soldiers stop vehicles like that, it’s to rob the passengers, but they often take the opportunity to rape the women too. I was with five other women, and we were all raped, there at the side of the road. Then they gathered us together again and told us that they were taking us to their commander. So, like that, we were led off to their camp in the forest. Since there were six of us, when we were presented to the commander, he made the first choice of which woman he would take. Then the other officers made their choice: each officer took a woman. When it’s the commander who choses you, the others can’t touch you. But when he’s had enough of you, he hands you on to others to rape you. I spent 2 months there. Every day. Each day I was raped by two soldiers.Well, when the soldiers were tired with me, I was put into a hut which they used as a kind of prison. There, the prison guards would rape us. We spent about one month in there. They gave us haricot beans. We had to cook them ourselves. Only at night time; not during the day. For me, the most difficult time was to be raped by so many different soldiers, every day. And then I was almost entirely naked throughout that time: For two months. So I had to use a piece of cloth to cover myself. My husband threw me out as soon as I got home. Divorced me. For the moment, I’m on my own.”
“When I remember what happened, it hurts me, it hurts me to my heart. It was in 2000, the second of June 2000. I was 24 at the time. I was going to the funeral of my sister-in-law.
While I was on the road — it ran through the forest — I met a soldier who ordered me to sleep with him. Well, when I refused he raped me. After that he tortured me. I don’t know how many bullets he fired at me, because it was many, many…he shot me many times in my privates. Then he ran off. When he ran off, I was left there without any help for at least three hours… three hours went by like that. The lady I’d been [walking] with, she came back to find me. So, when she found me where she’d left me with the soldier, she picked me up and we went to find other people who could help us. It was around one in the afternoon when I was shot, but I didn’t have any help until 4 or 5 o’clock. I woke up in the hospital. There, well they don’t even have bandages – there is nothing, absolutely nothing there. But I stayed there…At least, that is, they helped me with my blood. All, all my organs were damaged. Yes all of them. Everything was messed up inside. There, at Panzi, they tried to repair things but I was left with a problem of a fistula, and nothing could be done. I was permanently incontinent. I couldn’t do anything to control myself, to control my urine. The doctor at Panzi hospital tried everything possible, but it didn’t work.”
Apparently, people have forgotten the value of a woman, so to close out, below is a quote that talks about that.
The Hebrew Talmud says:
“Be very careful if you make a woman cry, because God counts her tears. Every tear a woman shed is equivalent of a man’s sacrifices in life. The woman came from a man’s rib — not on his feet to be stepped on; not on his head to be superior, but on his side to be equal; under his arms to be protected and near his heart to be loved.”
Women for Women
Women, you want to complain about something today? What is it? You don’t have enough money to buy that dress you wanted? Or you’re going nuts because you need to lose a few pounds by Christmas? Let me guess… it was raining and your hair got messed up?
Well, think twice the next time you want to complain about something! How about those women getting abused daily? How about those women who don’t have a voice about what is to be done to their bodies? Their precious bodies. How about those women dying every single day of HIV? How about those women giving birth to babies conceived out of rape? How about those babies who won’t even survive? How about those women living with diseases that can not be cured? How about being used as a weapon for WAR??
How about those women getting RAPED every single day of their lives until their last breath!
And you’re upset because of what again? Life….don’t take it for granted.
WATCH this video, and then try to complain about something today! I know I’m definitely NOT! Congo…forever in my heart! Women
Can you believe this???
I’m shocked! They have so much pride…it’s sad!
She was indeed chosen,
chosen to live.
she never understood why though.
Her mother was shot in front of her,
her sister raped before her eyes.
She was supposed to die, she believed.
Why didn’t they kill her instead?
The next day, she awoke with her sister dead in her arms.
Her sister left behind her children and her husband.
Her mother left behind her father.
But she was still alive…
She was chosen
chosen to love.